The Decline and Fall of the Rose

O Rose, thou art sick

The invisible worm

that flies in the night

in the howling storm

Has found out they bed

Of crimson joy

And his dark secret love

Does they life destroy

William Blake 1757-1827

Mysteries adept William Blake has packed so much wisdom into these few lines that it will take many more than that to unpack its deeper meanings. But to me it speaks of the necessity of decline and decay in Nature if the whole is to survive. And it refers, too, to the rise and fall of the civilisations and empires of man, which always reach the ultimate extent of their apotheosis before the decadence and decay sets in that fuels their ultimate decease.

It is not just possible or realistic for growth to ever-continue unabated – and all the works of man, how ever grand, are no exception. The worm that causes the decline and death of empires is the flame that fired up the seed of its growth in the first place, and so it is inevitable. Without that wyrm, serpent or dragon, there would be no growth, because this is the serpent’s means of creating matter to feed upon, for its own survival. It is the ultimate meaning of the ouroborous, the cosmic serpent that eats its own tail.

Once the wyrm has supped the rose dry, her petals begin to fall on to the soil and they eventually turn to compost which will fertilise the continued growth of the rose bush. This is the only everlasting life that is available on this planet. However much children’s blood the rich consume, they will never achieve immortality but will remain as mere vultures feeding on the decadence of the fall.

Decadence, decay, decease, decline – these are all ‘dec’ words, from the Latin number 10, which in all the Tarot decks mark the ultimate apex of any trajectory of life and thus the beginning of the decline.

Eternal life is not possible in human flesh; it is not in the nature of the Beast, whose name is Man and whose number is 666. This reality in which we find ourselves is governed by the hexadecimal laws of Time and Space because the numbers of the decans on the roulette Wheel of Fortune in this cosmic casino add up to 666 – 1 to 36.

I have only just scratched the surface here of William Blake’s Mysteries teaching, but I am just a child with a set of blunt crayons compared to him. I hope he will excuse me as I stumble forwards in the dark.